"Go ahead, get a new attorney. You can get OJ's dream team, and I will sit in the back of the courtroom and laugh when you're sentenced to 40 years." This is just one of the nightmares in the past seven years.
No, that isn't the intimidation of a county prosecutor. Amazingly, that was the 'advice' of defense counsel. No, it was not a court appointed attorney either. It is intimidation experienced by my husband from the attorney he hired to defend him. Granted, it was a poor and reckless choice. One he wouldn't have made had he been in any state of mind to make such a critical decision. A choice he was prohibited from correcting once he realized the grave error he made. This, the first in a long list of abuses we have experienced.
What was his crime? - My husband shot me.
So now you may be thinking, "He gets what he deserves." You do the crime; you do the time. That is the way the law is supposed to work. But as you read the experiences, challenges, and trials we've faced you may just re-think what you believe about American justice.
Never denying the seriousness of the crime, my husband and I are only seeking an appropriate sentence. Now, with a new attorney seven years later, we have learned that truth has very little to do with justice in the local judicial system.
Hindsight really is 20/20. It was naive for me to assume that when I clarified and corrected the errors and misconceptions about what happened on May 4th, 2010 that the prosecution would see how the evidence did not support the theory they conjured up. Surely, the judge would be interested in making sure that the case would not appear in an appellate court yet again.
My husband had the testimony and support of our son, my family and our friends. I presented my impassioned plea for her to be merciful to us. Annoyed and empowered by the lies I had just heard recited as "fact," my anxiety about public speaking disappeared. I made every effort to fill the room with my voice just as the prosecutor had with his deep, loud voice. Without the advantage of daily practice. Our son had told me I needed to get a backbone, stand up there, and set them straight.
"You know that is not me," I protested. "How am I supposed to do that?"
"Well, you just have to do it," he replied. I succeeded. Later, I got a, "You did a good job," from him. Apparently, it was the only value my statement had.
Looking her in the eye, I detailed only a few of the many specific errors of "fact" on record. I assured her that the fictional, based-on-a-true-story case the prosecution presented, was just that - fiction. While listening, the judge offered a disingenuous nod of understanding. Surely, they all understood now. Right?
One would think so. But that is not the case.
Before sentencing, the state preceded to repeat the very same factual inaccuracies (lies?) that I had just refuted in my statement. Then followed up with the insinuation that I was minimizing the crime and blaming everyone else. - This statement from the person I still, with everything in me, hoped was a person of integrity. Wrong.
It is now undeniable. Those in charge of representing the state locally, are not interested in serving the best interest of the state when adjudicating cases. It is an ongoing tally of wins and losses. A game of power, ego, covering your backside, and making the headlines.
Instead of receiving a reasonable, lawful, and appropriate sentence, the judge used what amounts to an algebraic calculation to achieve the already determined number they were seeking. By torturing the truth and performing judicial gymnastics, they managed to get a sentence of 22 years. Creatively sentencing 12 mandatory years from one weapon, while only sentencing ten years for the actual crime. Increasing his sentence from his previously coerced 20-year plea agreement.
Someone found a way to abuse the integrity and intent of the laws of our state. (Yes, that is a biased opinion.)
Before my personal experience and dealings with the judicial system, I could not imagine this happening. I'm finding that it happens far too often.
I have no doubt many public servants serve with integrity, and use wisdom when administering justice. But those who don't cast doubt on the integrity of those who do, and damage the trust of the public.
If you think the appeals process fixes the problems of the lower courts, think again. Come back for the truth about the time restrictions and "technical" issues that slow down or prevent people getting justice in the higher courts as well.
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The judicial system has failed me and is failing others like me. Each post will reveal a different instance of our failing system, of violations of law, and violations liberties. If you or a loved one has experienced similar injustice, or if, unlike me, your local local judicial system has served you well, feel free to share your comments.